NADP ViC2021 Week 2 Webinar

NADP ViC2021 Week 2 Webinar

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...questions in the Questions and Answers  section or in the chat and we'll follow that up   after. Each persons got 10 minutes and we'll have  a discussion after that before the next one. Fill! Thanks Alastair. I am just going to crack  on with very little introduction other   than to say that I am the TechAbility  Manager and assistive technology lead   and today I am just going to give you a  bit of a background to TechAbility and   then I’m going to talk about three key lessons  that we've learned over the last year about   assistive technology and not all of them are  directly technology-related it has to be said. So, a little bit of background on  TechAbility; We exist really, in the first   instance, to support specialist  colleges right across the UK.   So, these are Further Education organisations  that have a specialist remit for young people   with disabilities and that covers a wide  spectrum, but we provide consultation for them.  

But we have a wider reach in terms  of presenting at things like this. We have a series of free webinars and we  have training which anyone can tie into   and we've also produced what we call the  TechAbility standards for assistive technology,   which I’ll introduce towards the end if  Alistair doesn't ring his bell too hard at me.   So our web address is  If you want to find out more about us.

What we did just recently as  part of a different conference   is pull together some positive technology outcomes   from the last year. So we're trying to not use the  c word, the covid word, but we're trying to say,   you know, what's happened over the last  year and what are the positives we can take? Lots of people are doing this. They're saying  “what's the really good things that we found   worked well, that we want to hang on to and we  don't want necessarily to go back to normal as it   were, and throw all this stuff away, because we're  going back, face-to-face. What can we learn?”   And there's a lot of stuff in technology in  general, learning technology and assistive   technology, where that applies. So, what we did  is created a series... a mini series of podcasts.  

We talk to people in specialist college settings  and so this... you'll get the short version   today. The very short version, but the long  version is in the podcast, I’d encourage you to   listen to those because there's a really good  discussion going on. There about engaging   learners who weren't previously engaged, talking  about digital skills, platforms and systems   that are happening in the background, but also  a lot about flexible teaching and learning.   Some of the people tying into that are doing  some really... they've changed the way they   teach to a certain extent so that it can be  a lot more flexible and use a hybrid model   and use the best elements of the hybrid  model. So that's on

So on to the meat of what really I wanted to talk  about today. And as I said, there's three things   I want to talk about the first is about remote  technology, being an assistive technology in   itself. As Alistair mentioned, we're going very  wide on the definition of assistive technology   here. But really, what we found with our  discussions from people in education, is  

that they found that for specific groups of  learners, online learning was a real advantage. And you've probably heard this  a lot from other people as well,   but one of the quotes that I like, is a  tutor from the college said she felt that   for her learners, she works with autism,  their sensory alert system is calmer.   She felt that eye contact over Zoom was very  different from eye contact in the classroom   and just the general presence of people that that  person was allowed to be in a space where they   felt comfortable, rather than being in a room  with four, five, ten, twenty other people that   they may not have been comfortable in. We found  a lot of people were talking about the fact that   the advantage that they could take on was that  learners may not be in the building full-time.  

And they may not have to be in the building  full-time. That wouldn't be an expectation   and therefore the assistive technology might  be the fact that they can be at a distance   and they can maybe tie into some  face-to-face sessions, but others remotely   and assistive technology in the way of  talking about pastoral support for learners.   So, these final two points are kind of the same  really, it might be that a particular member of   staff has a particular connection with a  learner and to be able to do that remotely   using online technologies is a lot  easier than having to say, right,   well, let's make an appointment and  you need to come into the building.

Secondly, systems themselves. AT (assistive  technology) is really poor without the   right IT in place, and there's a lot in the  podcast about this. We found a lot of stories,   anecdotal stories, about learners who, when they  were learning at home, they had greater access to   their assistive technology and learning tools in  general than they did when they were in college   because the systems had blocked things. By trying  to make things safe, sometimes IT teams can be   over enthusiastic and they lock down some of the  general Windows accessibility settings and things   like that. Learners weren't able to get access as  well at college, as they could at home. The other   lessons that came up was about choosing platforms  carefully, obviously early on, there was a big   rush to just find a platform that we could use  for remote learning, but we need to be careful   and make sure we can do things like autocaptioning  or add a captioner. Can the learner zoom in on the   screen that's being shared so they can see it  more clearly? Do they know the keyboard shortcuts?   And the other thing IT-wise was about  improving everyone's Basic digital skills.  

So, we're talking about staff here, mostly  not just the Learners. Lots of staff had to   skill up really quickly, but if that baseline had  been higher to start off with, they might well,   have had an easier job. So, if everyone's digital  skills could be increased across an organisation,   then in situations like this, everyone benefits  from an assistive technology point of view.   So, thirdly really less human input can equal more  independence. Lots of stories about learners being   able to use the assistive technology tools and  that they required the more during home learning   because the weren't other human beings in  the room where typically they might have   turned and asked another member of staff or  maybe another student to help them with a task,   they felt that they needed to  rely on the accessibility tools   more. Now this sounds pretty harsh that we're  saying 'Oh, let's remove some human support   and put some assistive technology in place’  and I’m not suggesting that happens overnight.  

But in terms of having a sliding scale  approach, can we move from human support   to assistive technology support so that, when  that learner moves out of a college situation,   they've got the skills they need  and the independence skills. And a lot of that might be around seeing  things like the immersive reader in Office 365,   that there's a picture of on the screen, not  as an assistive tool, but as a productivity   tool introducing it to learners as as 'well, this  just here. You can use it'. The same for a lot of   the tools in Google Classroom and the add-ons in  Chrome and it improves everyone's knowledge of   built-in accessibility. It might be that sometimes  if you call it assistive technology, people think,   'Oh, that's for a specialist team to take care  of, when actually it's everybody's responsibility.

So, I just wanted to quickly mention  the TechAbility standards and   this something we put together so that  everybody within or an organisation can   know what excellent looks like, when  it comes to assistive technology.   The resource is online or you  can just go to the techability website and find it   and it's a range of standards looking right across  assistive technology and whether organisations   have got things in place to make sure all students  can access what they need. What we've done over   the last year or so is introduced a new one,  called 'Blended and Online Learning' which again   we hadn't thought of before covid. But it's really  just looking at the particular sets of skills   and what needs to be in place to make sure that  blended and online learning is accessible and   [I’m stopping talking in a minute, Alastair] just  to highlight training courses on the TechAbility   website. I’m happy to take your questions  in the Q&A now, if I’ve got time Alistair?

Oh yes you've got five minutes. Oh right. Five minutes of questions. That  was the one minute warning for the end of   the presentation. So another minute, if you  want to finish the presentation but basically   we've now got five minutes for people to be able  to come back to Fil and ask about that. Okay?

So I will take a breath and take  some questions rather going back. Now the first thing I did notice is Kate was  asking, if you could put a link to the podcast   because I think a lot of  people would be interested in   hearing the whole, the whole  lessons that you learned. Yes, I will. I will post that in the chat.  If I could highlight it from my presentation. There's no immediate... Yeah, if you can  do it now, that's great. So any other   questions? Any other observations?  So Keith's got one here in the chat.

So Keith's saying that “don't forget the  application of technology for some is a worse   approach”. So have you got any feedback from your  experiences as to how that's handled or how you   balance some of the really positive things that  came out with some of those more difficult things? I totally agree, Keith and I think it's one of  those areas that we need to be really cautious   of, that making sure that for some people,  it doesn't go the opposite way. That we don't   go down the avenue of saying,  'Right, well, technology solved,   so many issues over the last year that everybody  just needs to use it and get on with it'.   I would totally be against that kind of  approach. I think to me what it comes down to is   an individualised approach as I’m sure you're all  on board with, but making sure that when it comes   to technology, there's some sort of assessment  in place that takes into account, that person's   situation. There's an interesting assistive  technology model called the HAAT model,   which is all about getting the right assistive  technology in place. But it's all set within  

the context of what that individual wants to  achieve or can achieve or maybe their life   context and sometimes people who are keen  on technology can forget that and then just   go, 'Right! Here's a solution. Boom! Off  you go.' They don't take into account the   learner or the person's preferences.  So yes, totally agree with you on that. Can I ask you... because in that last minute  obviously my bell was panicking you... but could   we go and have a look at the training? Are there  any of the training courses, that support this? There's not a specific course around that, but  one thing we do, as part of our training, I mean,   the one thing that might support it really,  is a course on supporting AT at all stages   of a learner's journey that looks at pre  intake and a learner's journey throughout   their time right through to, when they might  be transitioning out of college and what   needs to be in place and how their needs might  change during that. So that might touch on it   to certain extent. But coming back to assessment,  what we do sometimes for colleges is that we will  

do more of a consultancy-based approach and  we'll come into a college, we'll deliver some   assistive technology assessments, but make  sure that other people can observe those   and that we're passing on the skills to the people  who are going to be in there every day because   AT assessment should be a continuous process,  it shouldn't be a one-off. As the learners needs   change and as they're going along, a reassessment  or a reappraisal might need to take place. And presumably, they may need  less support, as time goes on   if the support that's been in place has been  appropriate. They may be more independent. Yeah, ideally, I mean, I always think that the  less hardware or software that somebody has to   carry with them or take with them, if that's  enabled them to move to being more independent,   you know, there's an interface I think between  assistive technology and learning technologies   and sometimes the learning technologies can be  more appropriate and there's a crossover there,   if that's not too vague. That sounded really  vague, sorry. Bigger discussion, I think. And if you want to unpack that a little bit  more then carry on in the chat there, we've   had a couple of comments about the experiences of  deaf signing students. So, what I’m going to do,   I’m going to introduce Lilian now but before...  Sorry I’m going to introduce Craig. Sorry  

Lillian for panicking you and Craig for panicking  you but there's a couple of questions in the chat.   Perhaps Fil, you can have a look at those and  pop any responses that are appropriate in there   and thank you very much for that Fil, that was  really clear overview, and I’m going to pass   over to a very old friend; Craig Mill from CALL,  Scotland, who has done... CALL Scotland has done   some brilliant work on their wheels of apps  that some people may be familiar with. If you  

aren't, you've got a treat coming. So Craig,  do you want to give us a quick overview then of   what you've got? And also how you keep it  up to date because you're recycling and   revisiting some of that at the moment.  So over to you and two bells, you know,   the one means you're halfway through, the second  one means you've still got a minute to go. Okay thanks Alastair and Alastair is going  to be popping some links in as where we'll   just to help out. So thanks very much. So as  I said my name is Craig and I’m the assistive   technology advisor at CALL Scotland and were  normally based in Andhra University and I think   Alistair will pop the link in just now to the  CALL website. If you're unfamiliar with CALL,   CALL stands for Communication, Access, Literacy  and Learning, and we are a team of 10 people.  

And we're a mix of speech and language  therapists, or supporting pupils or Learners   with communication difficulties. We have couple of  Engineers and we have a couple of Administrators,   teachers and myself and it's essentially,  we cover the whole of Scotland advising on   how technology can support Learners with  the range of additional support needs. There's really a lot of information  on the CALL website. So I’m just on,  

you can see the breadcrumb trail to  information and we cover all these   different areas and there's a whole  range of technology that we can do but   what I’m going to do is really signpost you to  some of the more popular resources that we have.   I suppose in infographs that we've got and  just maybe talk a bit a bit about them. So this the download page and  hopefully also we'll pop that in   and the kind of areas I’m going to look at  here are the posters and leaflets that we've   got so just go into posters and leaflets  there and you can see we've got a whole   range of posters that are available to look at  but where did it all start from actually? So   if I, just trying to get rid of the top bar,  I can get rid of this top bar where that   maybe just minimize this a minute just so I can  just get the how do you get rid of the top bar on?  Let me see if I can get, I’m trying to get  rid of the zoom bar so it's not in my way   and I can get access to tabs? Oh yes, that's interesting,   so I can't actually get to any of the  tabs just now that I’ve got set up   so I’ll just maybe mine I might minimize that down  there you can see you can't see the whole screen   but here we go so it originally started off back  in 2012 because at the time when iPads came out   in 2010, there were loads of iPad lists of apps,  recommended apps lists, lists were everywhere.  

So we thought we'd maybe take a different  approach and sort of contextualize it within   a context of a book and it's proved really popular  but of course after a year it was out of date   so you know we’re a quite small team so we  don't have a great you know sort of time to   update these things so I did update it to a new  version to ios 7.1 but then very quickly that was   soon out of date as well. So my colleague Alan  he sort of created this thing called the wheel   of apps for learners. This was the first  resource that we used, the wheel of apps,  

although we did focus on you know some of the  posters looking at some of the built-in options   as well. And this just let you see how it looks,  so the first one was really sort of developed   into categories, were broken down into categories,  so we had within sort of text and speech reading   ebooks, working PDFs and these are kind of  a lot of these apps were originally programs   that we used before the iPad came about so some  of the companies such as Claroread, Texthelp,   these sorts of, you know, they've been about for  a long time and we kind of knew that the apps were   really quite good so we kind of built the wheel  around there originally and that's really how the   sort of wheel of apps started start to develop.  But of course there was a new generation of app   developers who were really unheard of before now  so a lot of our decision making was based on, I   just go to the Joy Zabala site so we use the kind  of a framework, filmation the heart framework, we   use the Joy Zabala SETT framework and SETT is an  acronym for Students Environments Tasks and Tools   and this where the learner is placed at  the centre using a collaborative approach.

So we use what's called the SETT scaffolding data  forms, we could identify the learner's needs,   the tools they use in context or environments and  in tasks so that this how we started drawing some   of the wheels and some of the apps together.  There's also quite a lot of sort of app rubrics   as well that's available as well so we kind of  use some of them looking at the apps rubrics and   I have a word if anyone wants this one, we can  send, it's not available anymore but we can send   it. So this one is kind of split into engagement  curriculum relevance, engagement, students needs,   usability, feedback, different differentiation  and it was kind of, did it meet the criteria?   And if it did, we would sort of add that to the  list so based on that, as you see, if we just   put back to the wheel of apps, we started creating  these posters mainly because they were so popular. So there's a whole range of resources on AAC that  you have here for looking at apps to support AAC   and then of course we started looking at  android apps to support communication needs,   android apps for learners with Dyslexia as well  and then there were more general ones looking   particular information for schools and local  authorities just to check, you know, were they   meeting their local legal requirements as well?  And what really became popular after that was just   identifying or exploring some of the  built-in tools that were on the iPad.

So just as I scroll down here, we've got using  the iPad to support Dyslexia, so these were all   the built-in tools that are readily available  using the iPad to support learners for physical   difficulties, visual difficulties as well. If I  just pop into the let me see the this one again so   this just kind of, it really just highlights some  of the tools that are available that can be used.   So one thing I was very kind of aware  of although there were thousands and   thousands of downloads of the app wheels  and the infographs, what the app wheels   didn't tell you was actually how to use some of  the programs and how to make the most of them   so it prompted me to start developing  a series of videos. So on the CALL   channel I think Alice has maybe got the link for  that as I’ve started over the past year putting   together a series of playlists which kind of  support the app wheels and the infographs. So we've got for example we've got a playlist on,   so these are iPad short guides to support reading  and writing and they take you through really basic   things on making web pages easier to read using  speak selection using the speak screen controller   typing feedback check spelling predictive text  right through to using an external keyboard and   a mouse with an iPad so as well as that, I  started, just recently finished something,   the playlist on a kind of introduction  on how to create accessible documents   so it really just takes you from the very  beginning on what is a word document right through   to creating an accessible word document, a pdf  and then through to an epub and finally Windows   10 which is a bit older now. I did that a couple  of years ago so it's looking at all the various  

options in Windows 10 to support visual impairment  so I hope that gives you a kind of overview and   useful resources that you can use to support  learners or yourselves in different contexts. Thanks Alistair I’ll stop. And you're ahead of time as well. Thank you very  much for that and I can see lots of people look at   the text chat chain thinking that's going  to solve some of my staff training needs   in the coming months so  great to see those playlists. So any questions? Now Fil has done a great  job at answering the questions in the   question and answer panel from his session. Any  comments/questions/worries/anxieties suggestions  

from what we've been through with Craig just  now? Fabulous resources they certainly are So I’ll give people a minute or two to look and  there are links as well, it's quite possible   people are on there looking at the links and  if you want to do it, that's fine. We've got   a little bit of time now we've got another 10  minutes for the discussion and the exploration   and then Maisa Obeid is going to be talking  to us from Zayed University. I’m really   looking forward to that but let's spend this 10  minutes, we're not going to hurry you through,   you've got 10 minutes, you've got some links  so have a look at some of those links and then   when you've had a look at some of them, come  back and tell us how you would use them. I should also mention that we have a series  of, one of the links is to blog articles and   they're kind of a rolling series of articles of  stuff we found out of new stuff that's just you   know we've discovered and we maybe write about it  as well. So they might be quite useful as well,   so there's a couple of questions coming in here   Mesa would like to know about the apps  rubric because that was a nice one.  Yeah that one I showed isn't available anymore but  I could probably send it, I don't know if there's   a way I could send it to everyone, otherwise  for today I’d say I just did a google search on   apps rubrics for teaching and learning and found a  couple. There's also apps I think as well, there's  

actual apps you can get the app stores rubrics  in themselves for identifying specific apps. Okay now there is I know from the future teacher  series if any of you are familiar with that,   there is something, I’ll just find it  for you there is a tool that we have used   in terms of being savvy being digitally savvy,  I’ll put the link for that in there and Kathy's   asking about using your resources in an HE  context. Would there be any problems with   that or do they look as if they're primary  oriented? Do you want to talk through that? Well I’ve been in lots of colleges and  higher education establishment and I’ve   seen the posters up on walls so I know  that they're used in FE and HE because   they tend to be. I mean we're funded for schools  but you know I have an FE and HE background so I   was trying to put focus on them that the general  tools for everyone. So in the infographs where  

you're looking at you know things like how to  support dyslexia with an iPad, how to support VI,   these sorts of things they're generic for  all learners really not just younger pupils. And the videos? When you're doing the training? You know things like actually just  creating an accessible word document,   that's generic for everyone, the iPad to support  literacy, again it can be used across the board   and the windows VI one specifically  for.. I know someone – a   needs assessor, in one of the universities  that's what she uses for her training for   all her students, so she told me, so  I think that Strathclyde University,   she said it was a lifesaver for her so all  the students use that as a training resource.

Kathy’s asking “do you specifically  have any input to Primary”? Well we're I’d say we're funded for so  we do workshops for primary schools,   we do workshops for secondary schools  as well, so we have a lot of inputs.   One of the things that we have on the CALL  website is the Books for All website. So   this a portal for teachers to download accessible  digital copies of printed books so books like tj,   these sorts of things or curriculum level books,  teachers can download the book and put it onto the   pupils device so that he or she can sort of you  know adjust it and amend it, use text-to-speech,   all these sorts of things so they have an  accessible version of the of the paper copy. Does that link at all with the RNIB bookshare? Well we don't get as much funding as our RNIB  bookshare so if teachers can't find the books   they're looking for on the Books for All website,  we always direct them towards the RNIB bookshare   because they'd have so much more funding and  there's so many more books that’s available. So I’ll give people a little bit of time  because I think it’s so rare you go to   a conference and you actually  have time to explore the links   people are giving, normally you have to  do that in the evening when you get home. Did I finish too early? No no not at all, no we've built in  ten minutes, right five to ten minutes,   we've built in for all of them so you were  bang on time, well actually 30 seconds early.

All to the good but we wanted  time for people to reflect,   to be able to look at links  and to be able to discuss. The other thing and I know you have an interest  in this, Alistair is that the other thing that   we have is we have the Scottish voices. So  we have adult voices, we have teenage voice   and we have children voices and we have a Gaelic  voice so they are all available for free download   for people in the public sector and we  know that they've made a big difference   especially for younger learners who may be using  an Alternative Augmented Device, an AAC device,   where they're using a device for their own  speech and we've heard lots of examples of male   users having female voices in their devices  and vice versa so now for younger learners they   can have a young voice and for older learners,  they can have an older voice, where teenagers,   they can have a teenage voice as well so  I think that's made a big difference too. 

That’s really interesting, I think  Maisa who's going to be up speaking next   will be particularly interested in that  because getting hold of good quality local   dialect local voices is an important thing  and I think Maisa may well touch on that. So any other questions? You've had a  chance to have a look at some of the links.   This your last few minutes to  be able to pick Craig's brains   or indeed if there are other resources that you  think it would be great for Craig to include on   some of the CALL Scotland apps, the literacy apps,  the dyslexia apps, the assistive and augmentative   or whichever way around that is. For those  different wheels of apps, if there are some good   links that you spotted aren't on there, I’m sure  Craig and his team would be very pleased to hear.

Yeah we would. Okay well I’m not going to rush people and if  people are still busy looking or if actually   it was such a clear presentation there are no  issues or controversies or questions then that's   great we’ll then move on a couple of minutes early  and I’d like to introduce you to Maisa Obeid and   Maisa I’ve only had contact with relatively  recently but I just found it really interesting   to be outside of the UK bubble of  education and assistive technology and   kind of disability support and get a completely  different perspective and in some ways very   refreshing perspective on how it's done in a  different culture and so Maisa Obeid from Zayed   University is going to talk to us about changing  perceptions and aspirations from a Dubai context. So Maisa, if you're ready we'll pass over to you. Yes perfect thank you so  much for the introduction and   before I start I just want to tell you  Craig that we use iPads wheels a lot,   it's a must for us, we use it even in the higher  education context. We are providing services for   students with learning difficulties so iPad wheels  is a must and we print these wheels and keep it in   our offices so definitely after the conference  I will be contacting you, thank you so much.

So greeting everyone here's Maisa from Dubai and  so let me before I start introducing our services   and the university, let me just start to introduce  the concept you know here when we are dealing with   people with disabilities. So here in the United  Arab Emirates we call people with disabilities   ‘people of determination and recognition to  their achievements in different fields’ so during   this session you might hear me saying people of  determination in the slide so we are using this   terminology now in the United Arab Emirates and  the good thing that we started even to see that   Gulf region, even in Jordan other around countries  they are started to use this terminology. We started using it in 2017 and now it’s become  popular. Even yesterday, I had a conference and   all of, even people coming from different  countries, they started even to use ‘people   of determination’. Where we are here in the  United Arab Emirates, in terms of supporting and   having lots of support for people with  disabilities, in 2006 it was the first UAE   federal law to support and ensure equal access  to people with disabilities. It has a different   pillars: education, employment and access to  assistive technology and many other pillars. 

This was also, it came with the UN, UAE  they signed and ratified the UN nation's law   and it started to shape from there, so we  start to have at least some international,   laws some international  appearance in and outside UAE. Now I’ll just give you a brief introduction  about our department at Zayed University, so   Zayed University we have two campuses. We have one  campus in Dubai and the second campus in Abu Dhabi   and we provide accessibility services for students  with disabilities and our main mission is really   important because this shows what we are doing  every day, how we support students, how we ensure   that really they have equal access to education.  It’s not only a terminology or just a mission, we   translate this into practice, we make sure that  students, they have equal access to education,   we empower them, we follow up with them after  graduation to make sure that they find really   suitable place for them and  even we extend their services   to support them if we need to provide  training in their work employment.

So mainly our vision comes from the  government initiatives, government   policy and the vision how to support people of  determination. So mainly I understand outside you   UAE this services could have other disabilities  but mainly here in the UAE we provide services for   students with vision impairment, that's  include long vision, blindness, we support also   students with physical disability, we provide also  support for students with learning difficulties. I will just elaborate more about this  part, we have also some students with   autism and we support students with hearing  loss mainly you know in our context here,   we have students with hearing loss and deaf  students unfortunately sometimes deaf students   they are not eligible to enter the university  because they had reduced curriculum and the school   system so in our university the registration  for people with disabilities or students with   disabilities should be like other students they  have to have the same criteria and once they   accepted the from the registration, we will start  to provide the services. So if these students have   reduced curriculum and they are not you know  at the same level in terms of academic level,   we are not able to provide this support so because  of that you will see that we don't have a lot of   students with hearing impairment in our university  or especially deaf students because they are not   able to meet the criteria for registration. We  have a quite good number for students with ADHD  

and we also try to provide support not based  only on the disability type it's based on   their needs and even abilities. So what kind of support and services we provide   them? Basically there is two paths for these  services. For students with vision impairment or   for students with low vision, physical impairment  usually once they finish the registration process,   the registration officer will send them to us,  we will do the assessment to make sure that if   they need assistive technology devices, we  need to make sure that we have this device   before the beginning of the semester. We also  provide materials, accommodation, we convert   text to braille or we provide tactile  maps and all of these services. Our main challenge is for students with learning  difficulties because usually they come to the   university, they join the university but they  are not diagnosed so they start in their academic   journey and they face a lot of the challenges  and the struggle and then after that, if because   we have good awareness system and the faculty  and deans, they know what is the services they   will refer them to us, So once they refer these  students to us we will start with intake session.  

We have psychologists that will do the assessment  for them and we have learning specialists will sit   with the students, provide individual training  and just go like other you know services. I think one of the most powerful thing  that we have is our centres. We have two   centre ‘Khalaf Al Habtoor’ and ‘Humaid Al Tayer’  between Dubai and Abu Dhabi. These centres are   fully equipped with assistive technology devices  and really we make sure that we have the latest   technology to support our students. We know  that we are not in terms of the speed like other   countries in terms of accessibility and assistive  technology but now we start in the first step so   we want to make sure that we really have good  steps to improve and to accelerate the process.

So we have braille machine devices to translate  different softwares to support students.   Recently before pandemic, it’s not  recently anymore, it's almost two years,   we opened Abdul Wahid Al Rostamani Inclusive  Centre. It was inspired from Apple technology   because it’s very accessible for everyone so we  create a centre with keeping in mind accessible   furniture, inclusive space, even we have a green  wall for students and we started to open it for   all people even outside the university to support  them. So I think one of the really most important   things or our asset is these centres and we  will be opening another one in Abu Dhabi.

All of these centres and improvement we do a  regular basis comes from our network outside   UAE so we are contacting people instead. I think  one of my colleagues were in this conference   two or three years ago so we are trying  to do some networking outside our area. Where we are, before I just moved to where we are,  I just want to show you the numbers. So we started   the department in 2011 you see that we started to  have that increase when we started, we provided   only services for students with vision and  physical hearing impairment. in 2016 we started   to provide services for students with learning  difficulties. So today we have around 206 students  

and this number is increasing because we have the  majority of students with learning difficulties.   So after this quick introduction, where we are now  so since 2016 we are Apple distinguished school   recognised by Apple because we implement the  technology in a very innovative way, we support   the students. Our students they started to use  Apple technology and like other students they use   voiceover and also on the local or national level  we support other universities that don't have much   facilities as we have and the human resources so  we support the UAE university Sharjah University   and we started also to support and communicate  with other universities outside UAE. So we support  

Sultan Qaboos in Oman, Kuwait university Saudi  Arabia however we keep our communication and   network outside the Gulf region and even outside  Europe or US just to get the latest resources,   technologies and ideas. Very quick before I  just move to people of determination strategy,   we have national policy to empower people  of determination. We have six pillars.   Because we have this policy, recently they  have announced Abu Dhabi comprehensive   strategy for people of determination and  it will be between four to five years.

I think the interesting thing here is that there's  30 initiatives under this strategy. The good thing   that for each pillar we have one team, we have a  team leader from other institutions to lead this   initiative it's not a shared responsibility,  there's a team leader who is responsible   at the end of the day to provide information  about the improvement and what they have done. This initiative it's from the United  Nations convention so at least we have   that connection and it's parallel with the  international laws and community outside UAE.

How we support this at student accessibility  services department, how we as about these   initiatives. We have the our future program we  started since last year, we support not only   internal community, we support Zayed  University community. After I have the last   slide, I’m not sure if I still have  time or already I finished my time? Well I think if you don't mind going a  little bit into the your discussion time,   that's fine, you could take  another couple of minutes   and then people can discuss from that,  that'll still give us a minutes discussion.

Perfect, thank you so much. I want just before  I move to recommendation, I just want to go   back for one slide just to show we work what is  our model to support students. So students with   disabilities are in the centre of our services  and then we have all the team accessibility teams   supporting the students in terms of assessment,  training, providing assistive technology devices   because we have load system and sometimes  we manage to get devices for them forever   and then the second circle is the environment  around them is at faculty staff, even IT people,   the campus accessibility and then the outer you  know circle is the outreach because we found out   that students are coming to the university and  they are not ready. We have a blind students,   they are not using white cane ever so  imagine that she's a university student   I and I need to start teaching her white  cane now and outside in different countries   these are skills since they join early  intervention centres. So this our model so   we started to reach out to schools to support  a community, to support teachers and even   students with disabilities to make  them ready to move to a university.

Last thing from our experience here in  the region, I think it's very important   to have a clear definition. What do you  mean by inclusion/ accessibility/equity   in your institution and what is your vision? What  you want to achieve? You need to know where you   are now and what you want to achieve within  one year, two years or three years because   people tend to say we are inclusive  environment, we are accessible environment   but on ground it's not accessible and there  is a scale for the accessibility so we need to   have really a clear definition for inclusion  accessibility. I think we need to start to   think about mainstreaming the accessibility and  inclusion policy in our daily general policies.   I understand that we have a dedicated policy  for accessibility but moreover we need to   mainstream this to all other policies. We  need to involve people with disabilities.  

Recently we started to do accessibility testing  for platform and I said we can't do this without   students with disabilities and even if we have  faculty or whoever wants to join this team,   we want them to come, we want to hear from  them and we need to improve human resources.  Next semester in September we will  start to provide the training for HR,   how to provide inclusive environment. Definitely  the most important thing in our context here is   awareness, awareness, awareness! We still need to  do a lot in terms of awareness. Thank you so much. Thank you very much Maisa, really  comprehensive, lots of information there   and I think I’m just looking at the questions  if folk want to bring in some questions now,   pop them in either the question and answer  part or the chat box. Keith is asking   ‘what do you think will be your biggest  challenge in taking this approach forward?’ Again as I just closed the session as awareness  and we need you know we need to increase   awareness, not only for people, we need to  increase awareness for the higher management for   decision makers, why we want to get this budget,  why we want to lead these initiatives because   usually people will support such initiatives  but when it comes for funding and policy,   they are not sure if they want to take it forward  so I think awareness is the most important   element because people still they don't know  why we need to have people with disabilities in   their work employment, why they should join the  work, what is their abilities and capabilities,   I think this one of the main challenges. And one  thing just came to my mind, it's really important,  

we don't have a professional or a specialist  here in UAE. We don't have people who are   specialized in assistive technology, we don't have  even colleges to provide our courses. If you want   to get these certificates, you have to go outside  or abroad to get these services so we don't have   expert in this field in our region. I think this  one of the really also another main challenges.

That's it, that's very interesting, I’m sure  Craig and Fil are going to be excited about   whether or not they could set up a TechAbility  or CALL UAE centre. One of the things I’m really   interested in what you were saying about awareness  being the biggest issue and I think a lot of us   would understand that being a problem  for the you know the teaching staff,   the academic staff, the managers, the budget  holders, do you have any experience about   the student awareness being a problem where maybe  a student just isn't aware of things they could   ask for because nobody's ever told them do  you come across that in your outreach work? Yes so we have different angle for this challenge.  First of all we have students they have disability   but they don't want to  share this because they feel   fear, they don't want to share because they feel  stigma, they don't want to get labelled because   if you declare that you have disability  this will be in your transcript,   this will be forever so they don't want this  and especially in our culture and perspective,   they don't want to be labelled that they have  disability so definitely they will hide it. The second thing that they are not aware  about these services, every year we   do 60 class visits and school visits and just  tell people they are not aware that they are   services even if it's not to the level  that we wanted but still that there   are some services. The second angle for this  challenge is students without disabilities,   they don't know how to interact with people  with disabilities so if they have group work,   they will just avoid other students  to this and then you know not because   their intention is not good but they don't  know how to interact ‘what I need to do’.

So now heavily we started to provide  training sessions etiquette, how to interact,   what should expect and we start even to encourage  them. If you have a student with disabilities in   your classroom, please come to our centre, we will  provide the support you don't need to accommodate   anything for them. Even you know papers or  anything, we will do it. Please come to us. That's really helpful, very interesting,  there's a couple of more points coming in   in the question and answer area and Kathy's  saying ‘a hugely inspiring overview’   for a start which is which we would agree with  but she's also saying that she has observed that   you haven't really talked about mental health  difficulties which we see as a big issue in the UK   context and Jonathan also asks about our students  with long-term mental health conditions included   in that legal definition of people of  determination. So can I ask you to address? Yes yeah it's really one of the important  questions and this always we receive the   academic question so for us student accessibility  services department we are under student affairs   so there's another department they are providing a  support for students with mental health or issues.   For students also with long-term condition,  we have also clinic and they provide support   however the important thing that we are all  working together to support all students because   definitely we have students with  learning difficulties and they have   anxiety issues so we have that referral  system. We have students with physical  

disability and they have long term  other conditions, diabetes for example. So we have that referral system connection and  however we see for example if the primary issue is   disability, they will be under us  and we will provide the support.   If the primary is for example  mental health, it will be under   a counselling department, if it's a condition,  a health condition, it will be under the clinic. Okay, that's very helpful, now I’m going  to start Lillian’s session now so you   probably won't have time to answer this to  everybody verbally but Keith’s asked about   assistive technology tools taking into  account the use of different languages   such as Arabic and I know you had some you  definitely have some things to say on that.   Could I ask you to respond to Keith in the  question and answer panel so that everybody   can see that? That's great, thank you very much  Maisa, it's so refreshing to get a perspective   from a completely different culture and to learn  what we can learn, what we can take from that   and what I’m going to do now is to introduce  you to Lillian from the University of York   who has gone from being somebody  who several years ago was   interested in stem subjects and assistive  technology and I was telling her the kinds   of people that she ought to talk to and now she's  one of the people that I send people to talk to. 

So Lillian is going to talk to us about assistive  technology and stem teaching the challenges and   opportunities and I’m sorry I’ve taken a minute of  your time so I’ll give you your full 10 minutes. Thank you, Alistair and just to set the  record straight I’m an educational advisor   at the University of York and I actually  look after the Social Science department   and so my journey began when I was working  with my economic staff and my management staff   who teach with a lot of  equations - mathematical text   and obviously that then rolled into this  massive thing. So I’ll be covering some of   the things that oh by the way I’ve got a link  to the slides which I will post in the chat   so if you prefer to follow along in on your own  screen feel free and so we're going to look at the   challenges, tools, approaches and personalisation  and recommendations for organisations   in 10 minutes and so this going to be  challenging but we'll start with a story   of how people teach mathematical subjects and  this goes across anything that's Chemistry,   Physics, Biology, Maths and Economics Management  and this a slide from one of my maths tutors   and we were looking at, before covid were looking  at how we might digitize the handwritten materials   for students with visual impairments  who are attending classes. So I had to go with this and I used EquatIO  and straight away you can see from the slide   that they're going to be issues because on the  chalkboard, contrast isn't always going to be   very high. Not only that, the tutor tends to use  the chalkboard as part of a kind of performance/   teaching performance so they're crossing  things out which helps with learning   the subject. So you kind of need to be there  and to be watching it but what's happened   since lockdown is that obviously we've got  tutors who have had to pivot very quickly   and they're saying ‘well teaching online was fine  but much more time consuming’ because they had to   plan how they were going to convey the same  information and perform the subject. It was  

harder to focus talking to a camera like I’m doing  now and many of them still improvised at home,   many of them stole white boards/magnet boards  from their children and put them in front of the   camera and continued to do the writing which  was quite, I think, could be quite engaging   and alongside that, many more of them provided  their notes digitally. So that was kind of good,   it shifted their practice and but they were  doing this in LaTeX or R and not always in   the most accessible way and they still feel  that it's better if students, the students   still prefer chalkboard style teaching where  you're interacting with the maths on screen. So here's an example from an economics finance  type module where you know you've got the very   cold terms on the screen but the tutors  circling it to add that layer of understanding   for the students and then they're actually  drawing out a few formula on screen as well. And that's okay but obviously there's some  challenges and their challenges are even with   digital resources so digital resources aren't the  panacea for stem teaching okay. So yes they might   create digital resources but can the students  see it so that it's sharp enough if they zoom in?   Will they be given the notes in advance?  And if they get given the note in advance,   does the tutor change it just before  the session so it's still out of date?   Tutors still need to do things like speak  the entire equation so a lot of them tend to   leave out open paren, close paren and they'll say  things like ‘so I’m going to cancel this from here   on this side of the equation’ and they need  to kind of learn to speak what they are doing.  

And some mathematical symbols don't actually have  an equivalent in braille that's easy to understand   so even if the maths is translated into a  usable form for a visually impaired student,   they still have a challenge sometimes okay. Now materials can take time to be digitised  for the students and you have to think about   transcriber skills as well as the tutor  skills so it's a lot to think about.   And so yeah I’m just going to skip a couple  of slides quickly to get on to the kind of   organisational approach and things  that you might do to ensure that   you get from a point of working with one  tutor like I did to working with a department   to suddenly realizing it's a whole organisation  challenge or opportunity as I like to see it   and so first off staff use a whole range of  ways to create maths from writing, handwriting   to Word document and Powerpoint to LaTeX  and R and lots of other things in between,   I’m sure. So you need to be thinking about  supporting them along all those fronts you know if  

you're doing practice A, what can I do to get you  adopting practice B which is much more accessible. So you need a whole organisation approach  and I’m just going to kind of start   revealing what we did which was we started off  with the Google doc and I started putting in   things I discovered and so different roles would  appear as I uncovered a little bit more practice   by our lecturers that were different from  anyone else and then we started exploring the   ways of doing things, usually with interns  helping us to do a bit of that research.   We've now evolved this primer  into an actual website and   I can copy the link into… this the thing that  people have come for really, the goodie bag.

So this website which your tutors may understand  better than to be honest I probably don't   understand it half as well as my maths tutors.  I’ll come across it and go this this great,   I really see how this going to help me. We're  planning to put in the glossary along with the   JISC accessibility clinic, maths subgroup,  there's a few of us working on the glossary.   So I’m just going to kind of tie in what Maisa  said about the approaches to kind of making   the support work as an organization right and I  literally just copied and pasted this slide in   10 minutes ago because I’ve talked about  this idea of the disability gap before   learning about it from our Universal Design  for Learning camps that you've got to look at   what you can change in the environment but you  can also approach it from the student skills   perspective and it's quite important to remember  that with every action that you plan to do.   And so again from that that Universal Design  for Learning camp, I came across the kind of   pyramid and it blew my mind that quite often we  design actions but if you bother to try and map   those actions against some framework and it  almost doesn't matter what kind of framework   and Maisa’s was lovely with that concentric circle  right it helps you to remember all the different   layers that you need to look at and consider. So, the UDL pyramid is just one of those and  

this is how our thinking was mapped across  something like the UDL principle, so it   meant that we remembered that for every action we  remembered the implications for students’ skills,   the implications for staff skills, and what  the organization needed to do to support that.   Another kind of goodie bag,  this slide has links to all our   tangible examples, obviously not everything has  got those tangible examples yet, but where I have   got examples of things, I’ve linked onto this,  ‘slide 16’ for you. Just some things I wanted to   show for example, a LaTeX template that we were  building that's available on the math site and   creating a good source of guidance, I think  lots of universities are better at this than   ourselves. When it comes to supporting students,  we seem to have guidance from every single team  

and the student has to go looking. We certainly  believe in stimulating conversations, so   we have our actual stem tutors sharing  inclusive practice and ideas for that.   Emily has spoken at the Future Teacher Webinar  before and you can have a look at that,   and we have finally got just this idea of  shifting digital accessibility across the whole   organization. I’ve written a blog post about  that which you can read to understand what that   thinking through was. So, a real traipse  through my, I’ll call it my monkey mind,   when I approach a project, it goes off like a mind  map and I have to corral myself and my actions   using this kind of frameworks and things. But that  maths and mathematical text website is certainly   one way where I kind of confine myself to  what I’m trying to do. So, any questions? 

Thank you very much Lillian, and Keith’s  got a question in there straight away   so I’ll let you go to that, but could  you, just before you go to that,   could you go back sharing your screen to  that lovely summary you had at the end?  The UDL one? Yeah, your UDL framework and how, that was it,   the how you were shifting, moving up the pyramid  from level one being everything for everybody.   I think it may be helpful if you would say a  little bit more about that, but let's go back   to Keith’s question first and then we'll see what  other questions come. If we've got time, it might   be worth you un-packing that a little bit further. Okay, so Keith’s asking about with regards   to stem, how do you feel ‘AT’, Assistive  Technology can offer better support when   dealing with mathematical functions in  the way it does with language tasks? So,   I haven't overtly mentioned a tool that we've  acquired and have deployed across the whole   University called ‘EquatIO’. That is part of  the textile ‘read write’ family of products,  

and so EquatIO allows you to dictate your maths  and you can even have it read back out to you   so you can check that you've written the correct  maths. So, things like that can be really helpful   for anyone with dyslexia or even a visual  impairment, except that it's quite a visual tool   to begin with and to be honest our VI students  don't use things like EquatIO, they have other   systems that they use for that kind of thing. I  think there is AT available if you look for it,   I highly recommend Text Help EquatIO for that. Thank you very much. Trevor's saying,   “amazing presentation, many great tips  and insights”, so thank you very much   for that Trevor. Ali is saying, “are you  sharing your findings with other unis?”  

because Ali is supporting maths elites and clearly  you have similar things that you're working on.  Yeah, absolutely. So, I guess we're  trying to do this through the JISC   accessibility clinic. We have a subgroup, I  think we've met twice, and as part of that   I volunteered to write the organizational  approach, which is on the EquatIOn’s website, and   they've taken the job of starting that glossary.  All the terms that they don't understand, they're   going to take the term and are going to find the  definitions for it. So, we have been promoting it   in the accessibility clinic teams event, I think  I’m guilty of saying it's not quite finished yet,   maybe I shouldn't quite tweet it, there's a  lot of stuff in that site already to be honest.  

So, we promoted it on the 20th of May on Global  Accessibility Awareness Day, as our contribution   on that day to accessibility. But, we’re  happy to work with anybody who would like   to join the group and contribute really,  because we are all supporting academics   doing mathematical things. And this of course would be very cross-cultural   as well, because if you're working in different  languages, the language of maths is international.  Yes, absolutely. So yeah. Lillian  

can I just check that I’m right in an assumption  I’ve made. I’ve just popped into the text chat   page how people can contact either Kelly Moat or  Laura Hutton to join the JISC accessibility team.  Absolutely. That's the link? Okay great.   So, we've got a question there. Yes, Ali, in  fact a comment rather than question, ‘most unis   work on their own in bubbles’, I think there is  a large extent to which that is certainly true.  Yeah, just one thing to add I know  the heads of E-Learning Forum,   they've talked about this EquatIOn’s primer  before. So, the heads of E-Learning are aware of  

the materials and it's whether they've then  passed it on within their organizations to   the equivalent of me in their University who's  interested in this. I’ve certainly heard from   lots of universities who have said they've come  across the primer, they've found it helpful,   and then they've used that model to create  their own University support for staff.  Phil’s just popped a link in here as well, and  Phil and indeed Craig as well, either of you two   if you've got any other contributions about  technologies that you've come across that you've   used, other tools or sources of expertise. Do  you want to open up the microphones and tell us?  

Phil tell us why you popped that link in there. Oh sorry, that link is just a general information   page about the accessibility assistive technology  network. I mean people can drop an email   to Kelly or Laura, Techability's kind of  involved that community as well, we help   facilitate it and still take meetings and things  like that. I did have a question for Lillian,   I’d heard a while ago Lillian that EquatIO  wasn't up to the job of hardcore maths, but am I   mistaken in that or is it developed a lot? This  was maybe 18 months ago, has it developed a lot?  We have put it through the paces  with higher education maths and   people who write LaTeX assume  they can write pure LaTeX in there   and they have to work a little bit slower,  not as fluidly as they might do on a   tech code platform, but it certainly can be  used. So, we have examples on that website  

and I’m adding another one from an interview I  did with a GTA, so she's obviously a researcher

2021-07-03 03:48

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